Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Why?

In a recent conversation with friends, the subject of religion came up. Assuming that I was the resident expert on all things Indian, one friend asked me the theological reason why Sikh men didn’t cut their hair. Before I could tell him I didn’t know, someone else responded, “Well, the reason is obvious, right? It’s because God says so.”

While the person who asked the question was probably expecting a “deeper” reason, the answer got to the heart of the matter. In a similar experience, I once asked my grandmother why she didn’t eat garlic or onions. She said it was because her parents raised her that way.

While some may expect deep reasons for the actions of others, there can be fairly simple ones. K, why don’t you eat meat? Is it because it’s cruel to the animals? Nope. I don’t oppose vivisection. Is it because meat is unhygenic? Nope. There was an E. coli scare recently, but it involved spinach. Then why? Because meat disgusts me.

In the same conversation about religion, I noticed that one of my friends, a Muslim, was not fasting. When I asked why, he started to give a convoluted justification before checking himself. “Because I’m lazy,” he said.

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